The White Sox have agreed to a minor-league deal with lefty Hector Santiago, GM Rick Hahn told reporters including Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). Santiago would earn at a $2MM rate in the majors, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).
It’s a homecoming for Santiago, who’s now thirty years of age. He more than made good on the South Siders’ decision to draft him in the thirtieth round of the 2006 draft, ultimately cracking the majors for the first time with Chicago in 2011. Santiago ended up departing in the memorable three-team deal that landed the Sox Adam Eaton.
The move also lands the rebuilding White Sox another bounceback arm that’ll help deepen the staff. If Santiago throws well in camp, he might conceivably challenge for a rotation spot or — perhaps more likely — earn a long relief role for the coming season.
Santiago has at times produced solid results. Indeed, through the 2015 seasons, he had compiled a 3.55 ERA over 532 2/3 MLB innings. But the peripherals never quite supported that kind of output; for example, Santiago carried a 4.54 FIP to that point.
Since, though, things have fallen apart. Santiago produce a messy 2016 effort, struggling after a mid-season swap from the Angels to the Twins but at least managing to compile 182 frames. He collapsed last year, managing only 70 1/3 innings of 5.63 ERA pitching in a season marred by back and shoulder problems. Santiago coughed up 15 long balls in that span and saw his average fastball velocity drop to 90.8 mph.